Automated IT Network

By Shibu George, Head-Project Electrical, Apollo Tyres

Why? What to Automate? When to Automate? Trends in Robotics, Care while automating.

The Indian Government driven ‘Make in India’ campaign is encour­aging foreign investment in India by creating a policy framework that has eased foreign investment, business and management of intellectual property.

With the Multinational companies coming to India specially industries like Automotive, Pharmaceutical, Chemical, Textile etc the need for Automation is increas­ing many folds.

General Myth about Automation -

Automation is suited to the developed countries of the world which have attained a state of full employment. Automation is not suggested for a developing country like India because here the state of unemployment is visualized and automation will increase this state of un­employment.

The fact is, earlier automation was needed mainly for increasing the productivity & consistent quality. Now there are more reasons and areas to go for automation like: need to meet the safety standards, ergonomics, data management and say push by the OEM or Market or need to become more competitive in global market etc.

Being in the tyre industry for 24 Years with experi­ence of setting Brown & green field project, I would like to share few experiences. Gone are the days may be 25 to 28yrs down the line , where HR requirement for Ma­chine operators were secondary school education, Pref­erably male with weight above 60 Kg and height above 5 feet 7 inch. Today minimum qualification is diploma in Engineering for Machine operator or Team Members. This shows the level of automation in the machinery and the plant. This increase in the level of automation on machinery brings one more dimension i.e. connecting all these machineries to the Plant IT network and collect information with RFID / Bar code readers connected to the machinery. This requirement is growing up very fast mainly in Automotive, Pharmaceutical, Tyre & chemical industries which is called MES i.e. Manufacturing Ex­ecution system. The basic idea is, all the process equip­ment are connected to the plant Ethernet network and information is collected from every equipment for the purpose of –

1. Availability and utilization of machines.

2. Material flow management.

3.Track & Tracing.

4. Quality data / root cause analysis Inline measurement results.

5. Recipe Management and Control.

6. Energy Management.

7. Alarming & diagnostic of sudden problems.

8. Production Planning & Scheduling.

9. Communication with AGV/ ASRS movement target

•  MES as the middle ground between ERP systems and individual machine and automation controls.
• ERP systems handle financial functions, customer orders and send production requests to the factory floor. MES provide overall con­trol and management of the factory floor, and provide updated informa­tion to the ERP.

So we see the introduction of MES into industry brings in require­ment of one new field of experts i.e. Network engineers with expertise to standard IT network & automation network. Very important point to understand is any data traffic on the network should not disturb the ma­chine operation. This also calls for very high level of IT network with redundancy.

For eg. a Typical Industrial Net­work

To design and plan a plant-wide Ethernet/IP network, first consider each level of logical model as shown in above example. Be sure to include any required future expansion capa­bility and managed switches. Define zones and segmentation, and then place industrial automation and control system devices, servers and other communicating end devices within the logical topology based on their location function, availability and performance requirement .

One important point or the trick while configuring this industrial network is to create smaller Layer 2 networks to minimize broadcast do­mains, Use virtual local area network (VLANs) within a zone to segment different traffic types such as indus­trial and nonindustrial. Minimize the number of devices to less than 200 within a Zone and VLAN. Use firewalls to segment strongly the manufacturing and enterprise zones.

With the cost of the Industrial robot going down the usage is very advantageous but few points to be considered before deciding –

Industrial Robots – A Solved Prob­lem?

No, for applications where high flex­ibility is needed.

No, for small batch size produc­tions, usually found in small and me­dium sized enterprises (SMEs).

So these 3 types of robot kin­ematics cover the 95 percent of the serial Kinematics. Remaining 5 per­cent is called Parallel Kinematics Ro­bot i.e. Delta Robot & Rope Robot. In these kind of automation one important point to remember is to carry out simulation before deciding the number of robot, speeds etc to meet the production cycle time and buffer capacity. For sure while de­signing the automation we need to design for peak loads and at least 25 to 30 percent over capacity.

Another area of automation which is gaining focus and impor­tance are – For Building Automa­tion, Fire Annunciation system , Smoke heat & Exhaust , CCTV , PA system, intrusion detection, Access controls etc . In fact for any new Green Field project coming up these are surely a must.

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